The other day, my best friend made Fluffernutter cookies. Fresh from the oven, they were amazing. Though he said he messed up the first batch, I liked the chewy, candy-like cookie texture of those better than the thicker ones he made in the second batch.
When it comes to baked treats, nothing beats a cookie just out of the oven with a big glass of milk. As I sat enjoying both types of cookies — chewy and cakey — I wondered if there was a trick to customizing cookie texture. As it turns out, there are several.
Do you prefer your cookies crispy or fluffy? Soft or crunchy? Whatever cookie texture you’re after, I highly recommend these easy baking hacks to make the cookie of your dreams into a reality.
How to Make Soft Cookies
What makes cookies soft? If you like your cookies like you like your pillows — soft! — use a higher ratio of brown sugar to white. While white sugar helps the dough spread out as it bakes, brown sugar allows the dough to maintain its shape and moisture content. This is because brown sugar is a mixture of white sugar crystals and molasses, which adds moisture as well as a bit of acidity. The acid allows for a more leavened (or higher-rise) end product. And what’s better than biting into a soft chocolate chip cookie?
How to Make Chewy Cookies
If you prefer a chewier cookie, use melted butter. Not softened, but completely melted. Using melted butter produces chewier cookies, and you don’t have to lug out that heavy mixer from the bottom shelf! You’ll want to chill the dough for at least three hours, then let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before forming into balls. While you might not want to wait, you’ll be happy you didn’t skip this step if you want chewy cookies. Chilling your cookie dough allows the fats to cool down and coagulate, lengthening the time they take to spread in the oven. They’ll be more moist and chewy as a result.
How to Make Crispy Cookies
As I said before, I like my cookies thin, lacy, and candy-like. What makes cookies crispy? Sugar! To make cookies that are crispy bits of melt-in-your-mouth goodness, add sugar, sugar, and more sugar! That’s the reason my friend’s first batch of Fluffernutter cookies tasted so good to me — he used more marshmallows and didn’t freeze them before baking. The marshmallows melted quickly into liquid sugar while baking, making the cookies spread much more than they would otherwise. This allowed for a thinner cookie that was still delightfully chewy, thanks to the moisture from the oil in the peanut butter.
How to Make Fluffy Cookies
If your cookies are too flat for your liking, and you want to see more height, don’t melt your butter. Instead, soften it to room temperature by leaving it out on your counter. What makes cookies fluffy? When room temperature butter is mixed with sugar — otherwise known as creaming — it’s the perfect consistency to add air pockets to the dough, which aren’t possible when the butter is any warmer.
How to Make Cakey Cookies
Everyone loves a good slice of cake, but sometimes you want something lower-maintenance and bite-sized. If you want more cake in your cookie, use shortening instead of butter. Shortening produces steam when it melts because it has a greater water content than butter, which makes for a higher rise. Another tip? Use more eggs, and be sure not to over-cream the fat and sugar. Mixing these just enough will ensure that less air gets incorporated into the dough.
When it comes to customizing cookie texture, ingredient ratio is the key. After all, as fun as baking can be, it’s all boils down to chemistry! And whether you got an A or a C in that class back in high school, the results of this particular experiment are truly sweet.